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Harsher punishment for child marriages stressed

HYDERABAD: Speakers at a seminar have said that one month jail is a nominal sentence for the people arranging child marriages that cast negative impact on society.

They were speaking at the seminar organised by Sujag Sansar Organisation (SSO) to highlight issues of child marriages here on Sunday. Representatives of civil society organisations also attended the event.

Ishtiaque Ansari, an archaeologist, said it was a joke that Pakistani law prescribed one month jail term for those who arranged child marriage and destroyed lives of children.

Dr Soomar Khoso said child marriage resulted in a lack of understanding between the couple that led to family and tribal feuds.

Medically, under-aged mother and child faced lack of diet and a host of other issues, he said.

Javez Soz said the SSO should collect data of child marriages and compile a report. He demanded amendment in the outdated laws that govern such marriages dating back to British rule (Child Marriages Restraint Act 1929). Punhal Sario said root-cause of the problem was feudal system. He called for uprooting the feudal system through democratic means.

Mashooque Birhamani the SSO said that even in the UK, child and forced marriages took place and of them 29 per cent were child marriages.

In Sindh, due to old traditions, feudal system and lack of education, child marriages were a big problem. He said the SSO with the support of Norwegian Human Rights Fund was working since 2010 and its efforts had yielded positive results.

Source: Dawn